New York Islanders (21-10-0) at Detroit Red Wings (17-7-8)
|Date & Time||Friday December 19, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Detroit Red Wings -136 / New York Islanders +123 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
After a bit of a speed bump the New York Islanders are back to their winning ways. After a come from behind victory against the Chicago Blackhawks the Islanders figured they’d do it again when they hosted the New Jersey Devils on Monday night. It didn’t take long for the Islanders to fall behind in this one, allowing two New Jersey goals in a little over a three minute span in the first period to encounter a 2-0 deficit. It was a slow and sloppy first period for the Islanders but one they rebounded from nicely over the final 40 minutes. Josh Bailey got the Islanders on the board just 1:51 into the second period but New York was stifled offensively for the most part. The Islanders were controlling play but were unable to tie the game until Matt Martin chipped in with his fourth goal of the season midway through the third period to even the score. It’s players like Martin that make this Islanders club feel a little different this season. For so long New York has needed everything to break right for them to be successful but this season they’re getting contributions from all over the lineup and that has allowed their top players to not press as much. John Tavares has hit some rough patches throughout the season and in the past that would have been a death knell for this club. This year there has always been someone there to pick this club up and it’s one of the reasons it looks like this year the Islanders might actually be for real. Jaroslav Halak continues to impress and picked up his 16th victory of the season, stopping 26 shots in the win. In previous years one of the big problems with the Islanders has been their inability to stop losing streaks. This was a hockey club that would go on some runs but then immediately nullify them by piecing together a long losing streak. Stopping this recent streak at three games and stringing together a couple of wins afterwards is a big step for everyone in an Islanders sweater.
It has been a bounce back year for the Detroit Red Wings but their recent scoring slump has led to four consecutive losses. At 17-7-8 on the season it’s hardly reason for concern at this point but they need to find a way to get things going again and an open ice game against a team like the Islanders might be exactly what they need. Detroit has scored just four goals total during the losing streak but currently still rank 10th in the league in goals per game. This is a hockey club that was lighting the lamp at an unsustainable rate early in the season and it looks like it’s catching up to them all at once right now. With games against the Islanders, Avalanche, Sabres, and Senators on the horizon the Red Wings should be able to break out of this little lull that they’re in right now and find some confidence again. Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets they got a stellar performance from Jimmy Howard in net but they were unable to solve Sergei Bobrvosky at the other end. Howard stopped all 29 shots he faced on the night but couldn’t prevent Ryan Johansen and Booner Jenner from scoring in the shootout and allowing the Blue Jackets to skate off with a 1-0 victory. This should be one of those games that wakes the Red Wings up because they got a strong performance from their goaltender and weren’t able to get him a victory despite him shutting out the opponent for 65 minutes. Mike Babcock usually does a good job helping his team motivation and it shouldn’t be too difficult after that offensive performance the other night.
This is a tough one on Friday night between two clubs that have been playing really well for most of the year. New York has snapped their losing streak while Detroit is still trying to do that but these teams both aren’t playing to their potential right now. This is one of those toss up games but getting the Islanders with some value seems nice.